Californians will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for health care premiums next year, thanks to the efforts of Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and his fellow Republicans in Congress.
In a new report detailing health care premium increases for 2019, Covered California states that new policies Republicans tucked into the unpopular tax bill are a significant reason premiums are rising.
Californians will see health care premiums increase by an average of 9 percent in 2019, with some regions seeing increases as high as 16 percent. Without the health care provisions Knight helped make law “consumers would be seeing a rate change closer to 5 percent,” says Covered California. That’s a 40 percent increase thanks to the law gleefully supported by Knight.
In terms of cost, Knight’s successful sabotage means “Californians will be spending more than $400 million more on their health care coverage in 2019.”
Californians who receive unsubsidized health insurance through the state’s ACA exchange, called Covered California, will pay an average of $547 more in 2019 than they did in 2018.
Knight has a track record of voting to put health care out of reach for Californians.
He previously supported a health care repeal bill that tried to get rid of protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. If the bill Knight supported had become law — the Senate voted against it — insurers “would be able to charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis – possibly requiring people to pay thousands of dollars extra every year to remain insured,” according to Politifact. Half of all Californians have a pre-existing medical condition.
Knight also backed an “age tax” that would have allowed insurers to charge people aged 50-64 significantly higher premiums. “It’s an outrage that anyone in the U.S. Congress could expect people over age 50 to pay thousands more for health coverage,” the AARP said at the time. But Knight still voted in favor of making people over the age of 50 pay thousands more for health coverage.
The bill Knight supported would have caused 23 million people to lose access to health insurance, including tens of thousands in his own district.
Knight has spent his entire congressional career seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act. In aligning himself with Trump, Knight is starting to see the fruits of the Republican sabotage he signed on to.
And Californians are paying a high price for it.